Wednesday President Obama participated in his first news conference since winning re-election. It was also his first news conference in eight months. The very first question was about BenghaziGate, the ever growing scandal surrounding the cover-up over the terrorist attacks at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Four Americans were killed, including the American ambassador to Libya.
Though an apparent concerted effort by the media to ignore the terrorist attacks in Benghazi was in play leading up to the American presidential election, the number of prominent players continues to grow and it is now no longer possible to be swept under the rug for the convenience of Barack Obama's second term. It is impossible to know at this point where it all leads but we do know this - it's not pretty.
Obviously, the Americans killed in the terrorist attacks must be first and foremost in the minds of all. Unfortunately, the families of those killed are not receiving the peace that some obvious answers would bring to them. Why, exactly, was Ambassador Stevens in Benghazi on September 11 in the first place? Threats were regular and frequent. Both Ambassador Stevens and specialist Sean Smith were said to have voiced concerns about the lack of security at that location.
President Obama was asked about his responsibility in the scandal - did he do everything possible to protect those Americans? What was his opinion of Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations who was sent out to five, count them, five Sunday morning talk shows to parrot the line given to her by someone in the White House - that the attacks were brought about by an obscure video on the Internet.
For the first time, President Obama admitted it was, in fact, the White House who sent Rice out to do their bidding. It was always clear that that decision would have been made at the White House but no one had bothered to get that verification from the president himself. Thus, the question remains - who exactly asked her to be the whipping boy (girl) for the White House and who exactly wrote out her talking points?
President Obama made a point to declare that he referred to the attacks in Benghazi as terrorist attacks on September 12 during an exchange with Mitt Romney in the second debate between the two candidates. It was a false claim, if you go and look at the video of his statement in the Rose Garden that day. He referred to the broader reference of terrorist attacks, not specifically to the Benghazi attack as he spoke of terrorism, but that has been hashed out. The question is now presented thus: why would Obama call the Benghazi attacks as terrorist attacks on September 12 - as he claims he did - yet send out Susan Rice on September 16 to claim the attacks were the result of a video on the Internet that insulted fringe Islamists? Who authorized the cover-up (lies) to begin?
The rumor is that President Obama would like to nominate Susan Rice to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State when she leaves her position, as she has stated she will do. This is completely unacceptable to many in the U.S. Senate, who will have to confirm her nomination, while all of this hangs in the air. Three Republican senators have come forward to voice their opposition to Rice's potential nomination as the scandal continues - Senator John McCain, Senator Lindsay Graham, and Senator Kelly Ayotte.
During his rare news conference, Obama went all protecting-the-little-woman on the reporters asking questions about Rice's involvement. He was asked about the senators voicing opposition to Rice's nomination and he declared that McCain and Graham and "anyone else" should come after him, not Ambassador Rice. He couldn't bring himself to attack Ayotte personally by name as she, too, is a woman. He was in pretend macho mode and had to remain in character at that moment. So, he attacked the men folk.
Here's my suggestion: Republicans in the Senate should place Senator Ayotte front and center at every press opportunity during this process. She should be the face of the opposition, as a Republican woman in the senate rising leadership, and that takes the sting out of any storyline that Team Obama might be trying to advance - Rice is being attacked because she is a woman. We are continually told by Democrats that Republicans hate women, right? Putting Ayotte as the face of the opposition thwarts that nonsense.
Clearly Ayotte has a good rapport and support from McCain and Graham. One lapdog journalist referred to the trio as the Three Amigos on Twitter. Ayotte should take this opportunity and run with it. For the sake of the country and for the sake of the Republican party. It's a win-win.